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Book Review #12: Screenplay

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

"Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting" by Syd Field

One word review: Explicated!

Did you know?

People who educate, train, and teach about screenwriting are called 'Screenwriting Guru'. Syd Field was the most famous Screenwriting Guru.

Screenplay is, and will always be one of my favorite books to read. Screenplay is an informative or rather an educative book on writing. The motivation to start this website and write short stories can be indirectly imputed to the inspirations I took from this book.

A screenplay is a story told with pictures, in dialogues and description, and placed within the context of the dramatic structure.

The author has meticulously delineated the art of screenwriting and explores filmmaking in a different dimension through writing. Innumerous number of case studies are given to examine the concept ourselves. Although most of the structures and concepts discussed in the book are directed towards writing a good screenplay, the same can be applied to write stories, articles, blogs, etc. Especially the three-act structure, which is the most essential aspect of any story and discussed throughout the book, is a wonderful technique to spin a story around any idea or notion.

Moreover, the book elucidates almost all the aspects of screenplay writing; what is a subject, it's action and character, creating and developing a character, plot points, scenes and sequences. Also, the author has instructed convenient guidelines to help us adapt to the habit of writing and re-writing. Yes, the most crucial element of writing is re-writing. Nobody can write a perfect story; you need to edit, modify, remove, add, basically re-write countless number of times.

Action is character; a person is what he does not what he says

Additionally, there are chapters on how to habituate writing, how to work in collaboration with a colleague, adapting a screenplay from a book, what you need to do after you write a screenplay etc. These are valuable inputs that will be most useful for aspiring screenplay writers.

Change, transformation, is a constant of life, and if you can impel some kind of emotional change within your character, it creates an emotional arc of behavior and adds another dimension to who he/she is.

Key Takeaways:

Always have a three-act structure.

Figure out the plot points.

Build the character with an in-depth backstory.

Write an essay about your story or character before starting screenplay.

One year before, I had finished reading this book and I was tempted to write a screenplay. Taking things gradually, I ended up starting this website for writing short stories. And I am sure I will get back to reading this book again.

Verdict: A Bible for the Enthusiastic Writers!

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